Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Garden Tourism Conference, Who was there, Part III

My fellow panel participants (left to right) Kathy Gilber of Vancouver's Sun Yet Sen Classical Chinese Garden, me from the Garden Walk Buffalo Niagara, Dr. Heike Platter from Italy's Gardens at Troutmansdorff Castle, Beth Monroe from Virginia's Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, and moderator Abbey Spencer of the American Public Gardens Association. I wasn't as scared as I look.
Not only were the speakers at the North American Garden Tourism Conference people doing great things in horticultural tourism, but so were the audience members.
Italy's Dr. Heike Platter

I sat next to my friend Heike Platter, Director of Marketing & Corporate Strategy for Italy's Gardens at Trauttsmandorff Castle. I've visited her garden in Northern Italy before. She introduced me to our other seatmate, Luc Behar Bannelier, the landscape designer in charge of all of Disneyland Paris. I was just in Paris a week earlier and my daughter brought up going to Disneyland Paris. We were there to see Paris, so it was a non-starter. But next trip, we may take up Luc's offer of a guided landscape tour. I was also able to meet Luc's former boss at Disney World, Katy Moss Warner.
 America in Bloom's
Katy Moss Warner

Katy is retired from Disney World, after having worked there for decades. She was the developer of the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival. Now Katy is a Vice President and City Judge for America in Bloom, as well as President Emeritus of the American Horticultural Society. I could have listened to her talk all day long. I'll do a post on her talk at some point soon.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Garden Tourism Conference, Longwood Gardens, Part II

As opposed to the detail of the previous post, I have here, and going forward, just some thoughts from different presenters from the North American Garden Tourism Conference held in Toronto last month. As opposed to going over every presentation, I'll keep it to presentations that relate somehow to my group, Garden Walk Buffalo Niagara, and lessons it can take away from the Conference.

Longwood gardens is already known for its beauty,
but does not rest on that alone to draw tourists (and their dollars!).
First presentation, after the keynote speaker, was How Longwood Gardens is Making a Tourism Difference by Paul Redman, Executive Director of Pennsylvania's Longwood Gardens. They have about 1.2 million visitors to the spectacular gardens, rightly one of the most popular gardens in the U.S.

The former Pierre Du Pont estate, replete with fantastic conservatories, elaborate gardens, towering fountains, organ concerts, and fireworks displays is ever-changing to keep its audiences coming back – for generations. Visiting Longwood Gardens at Christmastime is an annual event for local families, with former kid visitors bringing their own kids when they're older. As a matter of fact, Paul mentions that Longwood considers there to be five seasons - Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn – and Christmas.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Garden Tourism Conference, Part 1

Who knows how many parts this Garden Tourism blog series may be? I'll try to keep it simple, and brief, but there was a lot of information packed into the two-day North American Garden Tourism Conference in Toronto last month.
To recap his presentation from 2013, he did a quick review
of the garden tourism trends from that presentation
and how they held up, which formed the basis of much of his talk.
Garden Walk Buffalo Niagara (GWBN), the Buffalo Niagara region's garden experience and tourism group was kind enough to sponsor my trip to the Conference. So this series of blog posts is my report to them, and, as GWBN is a public benefit corporation, it is my report to the public.

I had attended this biennial conference in 2013 and enjoyed what presentations I saw immensely. In fact, I gave a presentation along with Buffalo News columnist and Channel 4 garden personality Sally Cunningham; along with Ed Healy, VP Marketing of our visitors bureau, Visit Buffalo Niagara. We met many people involved in garden tourism from around the world – and found where we fit within that garden tourism world. The good news is, we're proactive, innovative, and definitely on the right track. There is no bad news.


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